The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has urged Nigerian journalists to deepen reporting on development journalism, given the challenges of development in Nigeria and other African countries.
Lawan made the call in Abuja on Monday, when he inaugurated the West African Parliamentary Press Corps (WAPPC).
Represented by the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, Lawan said the press had contributed to the development of Nigeria from the beginning.
He said the West African subregion was faced with historical unique developmental challenges.
This, Lawan said had necessitated the need for a development journalism in the subregion.
He said the launch of the WAPPC was designed to open new chapter for the press, especially on its developmental roles and synergy with parliament.
“In the history of Nigeria, the press has contributed significantly towards epochal democratic evolution especially.
“Today,the West African sub-region is faced with historically unique developmental challenges and our people’s collective aspirations as reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This necessitates a stronger resolve by the press towards actualising the aims of developmental journalism,” he said.
He said the assemblies, consisting of the senate, the House of Representatives and the State Houses of Assembly, had consciously made efforts to put the people at the core of all considerations.
Lawan added that the press had a critical role to play towards mobilising the populace and realising the desired change in Nigeria and other African countries.
“One of the most strategic ways in which the press can help entrench the mechanism for good governance is by focusing strongly on the imperative of legislative independence as a paramount concern towards achieving the much desired democratic growth and development.
“For instance, in our time, we aim to end the acrimonious issues that cause unnecessary delays in the consideration of appropriation bills while fast tracking various other joint processes needed for our country’s unity, growth and development.
“We will strive under this dispensation to deliver on the Nigerian of our dream that makes the well-being of its citizens a priority in the interest of national development.
“I have no doubt that our mass media will rise up to historical developmental journalism towards accelerating the actualisation of our people’s collective aspiration.”
Earlier, The Secretary-General of WAPPC and Chairman of the Nigerian Senate Press Crops, Mr Ezrel Tabiowo, said the inauguration of WAPPC marked the beginning of a new dawn for the parliament in Africa.
“Given the Nigerian scenario, there’s been a departure from the actual practice in developed countries of the world, as very little is done to protect the sanctity of our democratic systems,” he said.
He said the media obviously had a big role to play in the independence of the legislature from any form of external interference.
“This becomes imperative because we have identified how essential the independence of parliament is in determining the quality of governance enjoyed by citizens of a nation.
“I therefore urge everyone here present, to be partners in the project of nation building because more than ever, this is our moment to make history,” he said.
President of WAPITI, Mr Aurthur Edwin advocated for capacity enhancement of the media for effective reportage of the legislature.
He also advised media professionals to desist from unethical practices in the discharge of their duties.